The otter and bobcat seasons opened at the start of this month and quickly closed as hunters and trappers reach the quotas set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. D.N.R. biologist Ron Andrews says he’s not surprised the seasons ended so quickly.
Andrews says they set some pretty conservative quotas for both the bobcats and river otters, with the otter quota at 500. He says both species are doing very well, and that’s another reason for the quick filling of quotas. It is just the second season for bobcats and third for otters, since their reemergence in Iowa. Andrews says they’ll now take a detailed look at the animals taken in this season.
Andrews says they’re collecting carcasses from the fur dealers and trappers to look at the type of animals taken, and will use statistical models to get an idea of the health of the animal populations. He says that information will allow them to determine if they need to increase the quotas for the next season. Andrews says bringing otters back in the state adds another way to gauge the whole environmental system.
He says dealing with otters who live in the streams and rivers can serve as environmental indicators, and Andrews says the healthy population of otters shows there aren’t "damaging situations associated with the river otter environment." Andrews says trappers are required to turn in animals caught after the season officially closed at eight p.m. Tuesday. The D.N.R. will use those animals in their study of the otter population.